I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she was talking about “accidental leadership.” Let me tell you, I was totally confused. What in the world is accidental leadership? To me, leadership isn’t accidental.
Through the discussion, I learned that she was referring to someone who was placed into a role where they were managing people or a team, a position they hadn’t intended to be in. They went from being a single contributor in the business, to then being responsible for the performance of others by having direct reports.
This is what I would define as accidental management . . . maybe. But not accidental leadership.
Leadership isn’t an accident, it’s a commitment.
I believe that leadership and the desire to lead, or serve others, is something you are naturally born with. Now, many people won’t agree with me on that so let me explain.
I’m not saying people are born with the skills to be a leader. The skillset is acquired. I 100% agree with that argument. I would also say that some people learn the skills faster and apply them better than others. However, I believe that those of us that are leaders are driven to be so and have always naturally had that drive/desire.
If you think about great leaders that you know, no doubt they were leading their youth ball team, church youth group, school class, or club. They were active in college clubs or groups. They were speaking up, sharing ideas, and serving others, before their professional careers. Which is why leadership isn’t accidental.
Do people start in a position or a job and get asked to take over a team? Absolutely. Management can be accidental, in that you didn’t plan on managing other people. Moving from a single contributor to a manager role could be accidental, meaning not planned. But true leadership, serving others and helping them be successful, isn’t an accident.
Leadership requires you to give your time, your thoughts, your efforts, and your heart. None of these can be given accidentally.
Your challenge today is to think about leadership vs. management. If you are seeing this play out with friends or colleagues, chat with them. If you feel like you have created a company and you never planned on being a people leader, check your gut.
Maybe you never intended to lead other people, maybe that hasn’t been something you have ever been drawn to, and you know what, that’s fine. That’s right! There is zero wrong with you for being amazing at business but not necessarily leadership. None of us can do all things, so don’t let your inner villain convince you otherwise.
If you don’t want to have direct reports, hire someone to handle the people leadership side of your business. Because at the end of the day, if you have a team of people in your organization, they deserve a leader. And if you don’t want to be that, again, I’m proud of you for saying it and not being hard on yourself for not wanting to do it. But then hire someone to do it. We cannot allow the leadership void to exist, or be halfway filled, or even filled but with resentment. None of those scenarios work if we are trying to create a solid business.
If you love people leadership and consider it one of your driving forces, let this episode guide you in helping those around you who don’t want to lead. Empower them to solve the problem, without them feeling like they personally have to be the solution.